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News 02 Oct 15

Croatia President to Meet Orban to Defuse Crisis

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic will visit Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss the refugee crisis and the disputes that have damaged relations.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and Viktor Orban full 640. | Photo Office of the Croatian president

 

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic will meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban next week to discuss the ongoing refugee crisis that has troubled the relations between two countries.

Grabar Kitarovic will pay an official visit to Budapest to ease tensions and improve traditionally good bilateral relations with Hungary.

The two already met on the sidelines of the UN on Wednesday, when they exchanged views on the refugee crisis and on ways of resolving the issue.

Relations deteriorated after Croatia started to transport all Middle Eastern refugees to the Hungarian border on September 18, just two days after the refugee wave hit Croatia.

The refugee wave was diverted to Croatia on September 16 after Hungary built a fence and closed its border with Serbia a day earlier.

Since the beginning of the crisis until Thursday some 92,000 refugees have entered Croatia from Serbia and continued on their way, mostly to Hungary.

Although the Hungarian authorities have cooperated and transported the refugees to the border with Austria, Hungarian officials have accused Croatia of undermining its sovereignty.

Soon after, Hungary built a temporary fence along 41-kilometre land border with Croatia, as the remaining 314 kilometres is hard to cross, due to the rivers Mura and Drava.

Hungary also announced the possibility of completely closing the border with Croatia on Monday.

From the beginning of the crisis, Croatia has had little communication with the Hungarian authorities, while Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic has condemned Hungary’s erection of a fence on the border with Serbia.

Leading the centre-left coalition in the upcoming parliamentary elections in November, Milanovic has poor relations with President Grabar Kitarovic, who comers from the opposition centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ.

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